one of my favorite new canning discoveries last summer was peaches. there i was, less than a week before leaving for our big summer road trip vacation, shopping at the co-op. and my eyes suddenly happen upon half-bushel boxes of michigan peach seconds. on sale. what's a girl to do? obviously buy them and madly can them while also packing for a big trip. obviously.
let me just tell you that having a few quarts of these delicious babies was one of the highlights of my winter. there were muffins, there were crisps, there were many many slices of juicy peaches mixed into warm bowls of oatmeal. i couldn't have been happier about it.
so this year, i got my name on the list at the co-op to call me when the cases came in. and that's how i spend much of my labor day weekend. last summer i only canned peach slices in syrup, and also froze some peach slices, which we've used in smoothies over the past year. this year, there were slices in syrup, along with about 40- 4 oz. jars of plain peach jam [more on the plethora of mini jars of jam later...]
one of the things that always confuses me when canning is when recipes don't specify how much fruit will translate to how many quart/pint/half-pint jars. how am i supposed to know how much fruit to use? and how many jars to sterilize? for peach slices, i followed the instructions in putting food by, but these are my proportions based on two years of experience.
sliced peaches in syrup
adapted from putting food by
8 lbs peaches
6 cups water
3 cups sugar
this will make 6 quarts and 1 pint of peaches. wash and sterilize jars according to manufacturer's instructions. blanch peaches and peel. slice in thin slices. in a large stockpot, combine water and sugar and heat over medium heat (do not boil). add peach slices to simple syrup and simmer for 2 minutes. pack peach slices in to hot jars. pour syrup over peaches, leaving 1/2 headroom. use a rubber spatula to release air bubbles in the jars. process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes (if you are doing all pints, you can process for 20 minutes).
a couple of notes: after i had finished this, i had almost 1 quart of simple syrup left over. so you can make less syrup, or just hang on to it for some homemade soda or use in iced tea.
also, you will notice that in my jars, there has been some loss of liquid (siphoning) in the sealing process. this is because i didn't do as good of a job as i should have in getting all the air bubbles out of the jars before putting the lids on and processing. this is nothing to worry about as long as the jars are sealed.